Gospel: Lk 8:1-3
Jesus walked through towns and countryside, preaching and giving the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve followed him, and also some women, who had been healed of evil spirits and diseases: Mary called Magdalene, who had been freed of seven demons; Joanna, wife of Chuza, Herod‘s steward; Suzanna; and others, who provided for them out of their own funds.
Just as the Church belongs to sinners and saints, it belongs to men and women as well. Jesus‘s band of followers included both men and women; and going by Luke‘s accounts, some of those women had notorious past – not the kind that people would expect a “holy man“ to associate with. But Jesus was a holy man with a difference – he was one who helped everyone rediscover God‘s image hidden within. For him, both men and women were children of God, worth embracing and redeeming.
When Pope Francis widened the scope of the foot-washing ritual of Holy Thursday, many people swallowed hard (and some could hardly swallow) the image of him washing the feet of women. Several churches around the world still refused to include women among those whose feet were washed. It is a pity that several of us would still cling to our neuroses and serve human traditions, but turn a blind eye to the invitation of the Gospel!